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"The World Expects Results. Don't Tell Them About the Labor Pains. Show Them the Baby."
By Catherine DeVrye   Printer Friendly Version

Think of all the excuses you've heard for why results haven't been achieved or a product delivered on time. Now, think of those individuals and organizations that always cheerfully provide what they promised, when they promised, as they promised. Who would you rather do business with?

Woody Allen once said: 'Half of success is just showing up.' I would add ... 'when you said you would!'

Mobile phones now give trades and other people the ability to call if they're unavoidably detained on a previous job. Surely doctors and airlines could likewise inform most patients and passengers of delays beyond the control of the organization and give the customer an opportunity to re-schedule or arrive a little later. Most would appreciate that an airline can't do anything about bad weather and a doctor may be delayed in emergency surgery. What they won't tolerate is continual delays due to overbooking or poor planning on the part of any supplier.

If the occasional delay does occur, customers appreciate a brief explanation but tire of individuals and organizations that continually make excuses - blaming staff, suppliers, the government, or the man on the moon for their shortcomings!

Time is life. And I've no intention of wasting mine listening to some long-winded explanation as to why a business promise hasn't been fulfilled. I'm tempted to hand the person some change and say: 'Go find a pay phone and call someone who cares!'

Unfortunately, some businesses still adopt the 'martyr mentality' as their modus operandi. Recovery stories are legendary, often times impressive and in some instances can generate increased loyalty. But, frankly, I'm not at all dazzled if they walked barefoot in the snow for 20 miles to deliver goods they could have easily done in comfort if they'd spent time pre-planning in the first place.

Of course, there's also the danger of spending so much time on the planning phase that you never get around to the action phase! Isn't that true of those individuals who constantly tell you what they're 'gonna do'. Years later, you're still hearing the same thing but seeing no results.

I recently had the honor of speaking to 1100 female engineers in Colorado and sharing the platform with Kathryn Hach-Darrow. CEO of Hach Chemicals, she was asked how much time she spent on strategic planning in the development of her now multi-million dollar business. This sprightly grandmother in her late 70's, who started the business with her husband nearly half a century earlier, replied:

"We didn't have strategic plans or mission statements in those days. My goal was simply to keep the wolf from the door - as the stork was flying in the window!"

With such a practical approach, no wonder her business had thrived. A working Mum, long before it was common to be so, she intuitively knew that:

"The world expects results. Don't tell them about the labor pains. Show them the baby."

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